Shooting for Success: Capturing a Sense of Motion

Just a quickie this week with two of my favourite images.

When the conditions are right, water is fantastic to photograph. Rivers, falls, fountains, mossy creeks — they’re all good. Still water gives you reflections to work with and running water gives you motion to play around with.

The two images today are motion-based. I wanted the final images to be more artistic than realistic so I’ve gone for a blurred effect with the water and with one shot you’ll be able to see the effect of a very cool filter.

Lake Lousie area
Just off the beaten path - Minnewakun Falls. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

Here is Minnewakun Falls, found by taking the Ross Lake trail behind the Hillside staff residence of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and walking west for awhile. When I got there the light was just hitting the little falls so I set up the tripod (don’t leave home without it!) and framed the shot. The aperature was always between f8 and f16 but the shutter speeds varied from 1/250 to 1/4 of a second.

This shot was taken at 1/8 of a second, which allowed the water to move over the rocks and blur a bit, giving a sense of the motion here. Since glacial creeks and rivers are usually crystal clear and near freezing in temperature, the water can photograph very hard-looking. By adding motion, it softens up the water while leaving the rocks hard and solid, a foundation to the etherial nature of the water passing over them, never to return. The natural light was very cold, though so in the next shot you’ll see what I did to warm things up, visually.

Louise Creek
Louise Creek, going from Lake Louise to the Bow River, Banff National Park. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

Now, working with the same principal of slowing down my shutter speed in order to soften the water, with this shot of Louise Creek I went even further. The shutter speed here was 30 seconds long, with an aperature of f22, which gave me the depth of field as well as the ability to use such a long shutter speed during daylight hours without overexposing the image.

To warm up the image I added a gold-blue polarizing filter and dialed it to show gold in all of the highlights. The addition of the darkening filter also allowed me to shoot at such a slow speed. Of course, the clarity in the stump was only possible with the use of a tripod capable of getting low while staying secure. I use a Manfroto tripod which allows me to move the legs independently for uneven surfaces. It also allows me to remove the centre shaft of the tripod and insert it from the bottom up so that the camera can be between the legs instead of on top of the whole rig. This allows for stability and shooting very low and close to objects such as moss or insects or insects on moss.

So, that’s it for this week. Still bracket your exposures to make sure that you have give both shadows and highlights a chance to pop out at you, and make sure you carry at least one spare battery because long exposures are power draining.

Have fun shooting.

Ciao for now.



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